Progress Report

It’s almost the beginning of August, and I still have a thick stack of books staring me down. I haven’t been turning pages, and as a result, they’ve been turning on me. No, really — I left these words alone too long, and I think they’ve started to reproduce. Exponentially. How else would I have so much left to read?

I’ve abandoned my goal of reading Vanity Fair. Too. Damn. Long. Honestly, that’s the last time I take advice from my favorite 19th century British authors (I’m looking at you, Charlotte Brontë), who probably had waaay more time to read than I do…at least when they weren’t succumbing to tuberculosis. I’m sure it’s great and all, and I love any book that will help you scare off an attacker (and probably future boyfriends), but it always feels like too much of a commitment. Especially with my recent word infestation, I just can’t take the time to finish one book when I could be finishing two.

Ahem. I’m also bailing on The House of the Seven Gables. It turns out this is not the biography of Clark Gable and the six clones he built in his laboratory. So…yeah. I rest my case. I have started and stopped this book more than once, which makes for a rollicking game of Red Light/Green Light, but a pretty lackluster reading experience. Again, I should probably stop taking recommendations from people from the 19th century. Sorry, Herman Melville. (His response? Calling me a bunch of names, none of which was “Ishmael.”)

I’ve been keeping it pretty light, which makes for reading that is easy, but rarely very rewarding. That is, I don’t know which, if any, of the books will stay with me. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking a lot about Super Sad True Love Story, which I was somewhat disappointed with when I first read it, ironically on the Nook. Although some of it felt eerily possible, Shteyngart’s words have only recently been registering in my mind as prescient. When I’m in a particularly dismal mood, I imagine that everything he has described is already in motion. When I’m slightly sunnier, I realize that that’s still probably true.

As usual, I am disappointed with myself. The good thing is, as I’m now also a failure at setting goals, I didn’t fail at any of the goals I failed to set for myself. Sure, I’m still “a few books short of a book club” (an insult I am currently workshopping), but I’m trying. If only bad habits weren’t so hard to break. I have to know: reading The Bell Jar for the third time doesn’t get you put on a list or anything, right? Like, perfectly sane people, who aren’t about to stuff themselves with pills and crawl under their houses, do it all the time, don’t they?

…Maybe I should have stuck with William Thackeray.


[Image courtesy the Betty White Calendar.]

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